Language Is Power (LIP)

“Language is Power” is HWHR’s project that was launched in June 2009, to include youth in our organizing efforts.  Youth interns receive on–the-job training to interpret for Haitian Workers Project members as they organize around immigration reform and participate in various activities in the Domestic Workers rights movement.  This experience gives youth an opportunity to learn the importance of language when organizing in immigrant communities, and first hand experience of empowering low-wage workers through the power of language.

 Why is this project powerful? 

– It enables non-English speaking women workers to participate in the social justice movement, who would otherwise be excluded to some extent.
– These workers should be able to have a voice and be informed
– Putting their voices together with other immigrant populations results in stronger impact.
– Promotes intergenerational activity between youth interpreters and middle-aged to mature-aged women.
– Helps youth stay grounded in the Haitian culture through hearing the experiences of these newcomer adult women.
– Enhances the linguistic skills of the youth through such unique experiences as translating traditional Haitian proverbs.


On January 10th, 2011, Ruth Charles, one of our youth interpreters had the opportunity to interpret for Maricia Jean at the Newsmaker event: Justice Denied – Sexual Violence Against Women in Haiti: Ending Impunity and Strengthening the Law.

Maricia Jean is the spokesperson for FAVILEK, “Fanm Viktim Leve Kanpe” (Women Victims Get Up Stand Up), an organization based in Haiti that is currently fighting to end rape against women in Haiti.

“Attending the event gave me the chance to better understand the devastating effects of rape on the lives of the victims. Maricia is the voice of hundreds of women that are being raped everyday in Haiti.” – Said Ruth about her experience.

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